At least five people died in traffic crashes over Memorial Day weekend as the summer driving season got underway.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says Memorial Day is among the top six most dangerous holidays on Minnesota roads – from 2009 to 2013, Memorial Day weekend was the deadliest of the holidays with at least 31 deaths and more than 2,060 crashes reported.
The five reported deaths this year include a 39-year-old Coon Rapids man who died late Sunday in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 35 in Rice County. The man was not wearing a seatbelt, the Star Tribune notes.
A 24-year-old Farmington man led police on a 37-mile chase in a stolen car after an attempted traffic stop early Sunday morning. Cody James Swanson crashed into a tree in Red Wing and died.
A 68-year-old Coon Rapids passenger was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Highway 47 in Isanti County early Friday morning.
On Monday, a 66-year-old man was killed when a female driver collided with him near the intersection of County Road 114 and County Road 24 in Le Sueur County, WCCO reports.
And a 61-year old Buffalo man was killed in a crash in Otsego on Friday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office said in a release.
The number of deaths for Memorial Day weekend this year is comparable to the last two years. In 2013, preliminary statistics show that four people were killed in traffic crashes over the holiday weekend, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. In 2012, four people were killed, and in 2011, there were no fatal accidents over the holiday weekend, DPS statistics show.
This year is on par with pervious years for total number of traffic deaths. As of May 23, 2014, 106 people had been killed in traffic fatalities, compared to 107 at this time in 2013 and 99 in 2012, the DPS says.
AAA predicted that about 36.1 million Americans would travel 50 miles from home between Thursday, May 22, and Monday, May 26, making it the second-busiest Memorial Day travel weekend since 2000.